Stanley Cup Playoffs 2013 – Day 23

Day-23 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

INKTIME  on RINKTIME Observations and Random thoughts by Chris Madsen:

A HUMBLED HOCKEY PLAYERS STORY FROM MOORE, OKLAHOMA:  The Edmonton Oilers American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate is the OKC Barons.  Their practice facility is in Moore, Oklahoma where several people lost their lives and hundreds more were injured when an EF-5 (sustained winds in excess of 200 MPH) Tornado leveled a 20-mile stretch of the community.

Fortunately, the practice rink was positioned just a half-mile outside of the eye of the storm.  All of our guys are safe and accounted for,” according to Barons GM Bill Scott.  “We’re good. Our guys live on the north side of the city or in the downtown area.  Our staff was in the office downtown. Some of them live in Moore but all are accounted for. But, my God, it affects everybody. People lost their homes and businesses. The devastation is truly unbelievable.”

And perhaps even more unbelievable is how a trip to the Dentist may have been a fortuitous shift in defenseman Alex Plante’s schedule:  “I’ve been living with people in Moore for the past few weeks, ever since I broke my jaw.  I’d come downtown for a dentist appointment and the family I was staying with in Moore, who adopted three Downs Syndrome kids, managed to get the kids out of their school before the lock downs.  I told them to drive to our arena. That’s where we were told to go. The underground parking garage at the Cox Convention Centre has a storm shelter.  We don’t know about their house. We can’t get back to the house. You can’t even drive down there.”

And the 6’4″-215 lbs., Plante went on to describe how his bad break (jaw) has gone on to enrich his life: “We have a program called ‘Barron’s Buddy’, which is how I became involved with the family. I ended up family friends. They are very good people. They built up my faith. When I broke my jaw, they took me in. I’ve been there two and a half weeks.”

And as for the home of his adopted family, “I haven’t seen anything yet,” Plante added. “I don’t want to. Your heart just goes out to everybody.”

The Oklahoma City Barons will take on the Grand Rapids Griffins in the Western Conference Finals.  Games 1 and 2 of the best-of-7 Western Conference Finals are scheduled in Grand Rapids on Friday, May 24 and Saturday, May 25. The series shifts to Oklahoma City for games on Wednesday, May 29, Friday, May 31 and Saturday, June 1.

IT’S UP TO YOU, NEW YORK…NEW YORK:  Inevitably the status of Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella will rest in the hands of GM Glen Sather.  But with his club on the brink of elimination, I was struck by the matter-of-fact way that NBC Hockey Analysts Mike Milbury and Jeremy Roenick discussed the fate of “Torts” should his team fail to come back and win their series with Boston, let alone get swept.

When I say I was “struck”,  I by no means meant that in a negative way, because I believe that Milbury and Roenick were merely expressing what many Ranger fans must be thinking…this guy has taken the team to a certain level–but can they ever get past that level with him staying on as their coach?  Plus, Tortorella is a no B.S., cut to the chase, advocate himself.  And as a fellow broadcaster, I respect the fact that both Analysts addressed delicate subject matter with supporting bullet-points that many talking heads would probably much rather avoid.

On the other side of that ledger, regardless of how you feel about Tortorella as a Coach or his penchant for stirring the soup in his dry, many times sarcastic press conferences–at the core, he is a fellow human being, who we can safely project loves what he does for a living…and really, who takes pleasure in seeing someone lose their job?

So the purpose of this opening volley, is to engage you hockey fans to chime-in in the COMMENTS section below.  Does Tortorella need to be moved if the Rangers fail to finish? Or, does he derserve another chance?

But before you do, some food for thought:  Rick Nash reportedly earns $7.8-MIL and Brad Richards $6.6-MIL.  Nash’s stats thus far in the Post Season: ( 1-3-4, +2) 10-GP…Richards: (1-0-1, -3) 10-GP.  So is it the players failure to finish? Or, do you think it is a case of a Coach who can no longer get the most out of his players?

All I know is this…John Tortorella remains one of the most entertaining interviews in hockey, because you never know what you are gonna get.  Here’s some of Tort’s Top-10.  And check him out in highlight #2…have you ever seen a more angry guy in front of a “Happy Birthday” sign?

And here’s the much more subdued Rangers Coach following last night’s loss to the B’s:

My final word on the matter…regardless of his status in New York, I think John Tortorella holds a passion for hockey that is good for the game, good for the NHL and good for what ever market he coaches in…or perhaps a career in Broadcasting?






Pittsburgh     at     Ottawa     7:30 PM EST

Chris Madsen